Round 1

Round Review: Round 1

Player of the Round:

Olarenwaju ‘Larry’ Kayode

Kayode (left) battles against Wolfsberg's Joachim Standfest during his side's 2:0 victory. (Picture courtesy of FK Austria Wien)

Kayode (right) battles against Wolfsberg’s Joachim Standfest during Austria’s 2:0 victory. (Picture courtesy of FK Austria Wien)

Kayode, who joined the Violets this summer from Maccabi Netanya for around €800,000, was a breathe of fresh air to watch this weekend. Austria Wien fans, who had spent much of last season despairing over lacklustre displays, were treated to a performance full of energy and passion. Although the 22-year old Nigerian failed to capitalise on various chances and score himself against Wolfsberg, it was his pace that earned Thorsten Fink’s side a first half penalty. Kayode is definitely set to be one to watch this season!

Goal of the Round:

Dominik Starkl, on his league debut for Admira, finishes past Michael Esser after a brilliant show of technique. (Video courtesy of Sky Sport Austria)

Picture of the Round:

Oliver Kragl & his teamates, plead in vain after Rapid's Philipp Schobesberger was brought down through on goal. It's not the first red card Ried have received against Rapid Wien... (Picture courtesy of GEPA)

Ried players plead in vain as referee Harkam reaches for his red card after Oliver Kragl brought down Philipp Schobesberger as the last man. It’s not the first red card Ried have received against Rapid Wien in recent seasons… (Picture courtesy of GEPA)

Story of the Round:

Mattersburg stole the headlines in the first round of the 15/16 season after a sensational 2:1 victory over reigning champions RB Salzburg. Ivica Vastic’s side were 1:0 up within 16 seconds of the game starting thanks to Markus Pink and secured the 3 points after Alexander Ibser’s last-gasp goal. The newly promoted side constantly tested Salzburg with their pace on the counter and their defensive durability. Pink, Karim Onisiwo and Patrick Farkas arguably impressed the most.

Full Results:

SV Mattersburg 2:1 RB Salzburg
SV Grödig 2:1 SC Rheindorf Altach
SK Rapid Wien 3:0 SV Ried
SK Sturm Graz 1:1 FC Admira Wacker
Wolfsberger AC 0:2 FK Austria Wien

Final Word:

SK Rapid Wien were in a generous mood this weekend as they announced that they were inviting 160 refugees to their league game against SV Ried. Christoph Peschek, Rapid’s Sporting Director said “In our history as a Worker’s Association, we want to be there for the most vulnerable.” More can be found here: (https://www.facebook.com/DiakonieFluechtlingsdienstAT?fref=photo).

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 28

Round Review: Round 28

Player of the Round:

Donis Avdijaj 

Donis Avdijaj has been in great form in recent games with 3 goals  and 2 assists in his last 3 games (picture courtesy of GEPA/Hans Oberlaender)

Donis Avdijaj has been in great form in recent games with 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games (picture courtesy of GEPA/Hans Oberlaender).

Avdijaj (18) was irresistible against Altach in the pouring rain. The attacker, who benefited from Marko Stankovic’s injury as it meant he could play more centrally, tore the visitor’s defence apart at will, scoring a brilliant solo effort and also assisting twice. It had been a tough settling in period for the maverick who only assisted once and didn’t score in his first 6 games for the club- however, it has become clear Foda and the entire Sturm set-up would love for the young German to stay for another season (as previously agreed in his 18 month loan deal).

Goal of the Round:

Picture of the Round:

Referee Rene Eisner brandishes a straight red card to Andreas Ulmer with Salzburg up 3:0. The match went on to finish 3:3 with the Bulls unable to hang on with 10 men (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Referee Rene Eisner brandishes a straight red card to Andreas Ulmer with Salzburg up 3:0. The match went on to finish 3:3 with the Bulls unable to hang on with 10 men (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Stories of the Round:

With Summer approaching, Austrian clubs have begun securing signatures ahead of next season. This week SV Ried completed the transfer of 23-year old Spanish striker, Manuel Gavilan from Zamora CF from the third tier of Spain. Meanwhile, SK Sturm Graz pulled off a bit of a coup as 27-year old goalkeeper, Michael Esser signed from VFL Bochum in the 2.Bundesliga. Esser had been in great form this year keeping previous ‘number one’ Andreas Luthe (28) out of the side. Further news coming out of Germany in regards to goalkeepers, is that Austrian national team goalkeeper Robert Almer is expected to sign with Austria Wien imminently. The 31-year old has spent much of his time at Hannover 96 behind Ron-Robert Zieler (26) and will be a welcomed addition to the Violets.
With additions come departures, and for the next few weeks, those players whose contracts run out at the end of the season, tough decisions will have to be made. Two veterans in their own rights, have already signalled their departures. Benedikt Pliquett (30) had failed to hold down a starting spot in the Sturm net and with Michael Esser arriving his time at the club was clearly coming to an end. Heinz Lindner (24) on the other hand, decided it was time for new challenges outside of Austria. He has played 196 games for the Violets having come through the Austria Wien youth set-up.
With 8 games of the league still remaining there will continue to be lots of new faces, but also plenty of goodbyes well before the transfer window officially opens in July.

Manuel Gavilan poses at Ried's No Worries Arena ahead of his transfer move in Summer (picture courtesy of Scharinger)

Manuel Gavilan poses at Ried’s No Worries Arena ahead of his transfer move in Summer (picture courtesy of Scharinger)

Full results:

SK Sturm Graz 5:0 SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Grödig 1:1 FK Austria Wien
SC Wiener Neustadt 0:1 SV Ried
Wolfsberger AC 2:0 FC Admira Wacker
SK Rapid Wien 3:3 RB Salzburg.

Final Word:

Unfortunately for some players, Round 28 appears to be their final game week of the season. In tough weather conditions, Sturm’s Marko Stankovic went down in a heavy challenge and faces a long lay-off following cruciate ligament damage. Admira’s injury troubles have not been made any easier as Winter signing Toni Vastic could be out for the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. In brighter injury news however, Rapid Wien’s Andreas Kuen (19) has returned to team training after only 6 weeks following a serious ligament injury  with Rapid manager Barisic claiming: “I can only congratulate our medical department.” How touching.

Sturm's Marko Stankovic is stretchered off after picking up a serious injury at home to Altach (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Sturm’s Marko Stankovic is stretchered off after picking up a serious injury at home to Altach (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 22, Round 23

Round Review: Round 22 & 23

Player of the Round(s):

Simon Piesinger

Simon Piesinger (centre) celebrates with team-mates Anel Hadzic (left) & Michael Madl (right) following his late Doppelpack to give Sturm a 2:1 win over Austria Vienna- Round 23 (picture courtest of GEPA pictures)

Simon Piesinger (centre) celebrates with team-mates Anel Hadzic (left) & Michael Madl (right) following his late Doppelpack to give Sturm a 2:1 win over Austria Vienna- Round 23 (picture courtest of GEPA pictures)

With Gerald Baumgartner’s job potentially on the line during Tuesday night’s game between Sturm Graz and Austria Vienna at the UPC-Arena, all seemed to be going well for the Violets coach, following a brilliant opening goal by Alexander Grünwald. However, Franco Foda had other ideas and with 67 minutes gone brought Simon ‘Maypole’ Piesinger into the fray. Within minutes of his arrivial, the defensive midfielder had met a Daniel Offenbacher free-kick with his head to equalise for Sturm. Despite the pressure being put on the visitors it looked like they would hold onto the draw, even when they went down to 10-men as Jens Larsen had to be withdrawn with a knee injury, with all 3 substitutions made. This was not the end of the comeback and with 95 minutes gone, Roman ‘Kienastinho’, despite being offside, caused chaos in the Violets box and Piesinger was able to stab home a memorable winner. Following the game, the Austria Vienna board backed Baumgartner, but a poor result in the Vienna Derby this weekend, could see his reign come to an end.

Goal of the Round(s):

At the age of 30, central defender Mattias Sereinig scored his first Austrian Bundesliga goal, and what a way to do it. The Klagenfurt native’s brilliant strike guaranteed Wiener Neustadt victory over SV Grödig , taking them above Admira by two points in the relegation battle. Superb strikes by Alexander Grünwald and Thomas Goiginger also deserve honorary mentions, but you can’t ask for a sweeter strike from a defender.

Pictures of the Round(s):

Lukas Rotpuller (left) despairs during Austria Vienna's 1:0 defeat to Wiener Neustadt- Round 22 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Lukas Rotpuller (left) despairs during Austria Vienna’s 1:0 defeat to Wiener Neustadt- Round 22 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Toni Vastic (left) clashes with Salzburg goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi (right). The Admira striker had to be stretchered off, but earned his side a 2nd half penalty- Round 23 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Toni Vastic (left) clashes with Salzburg goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi (right). The Admira striker had to be stretchered off, but earned his side a 2nd half penalty- Round 23 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Controversy of the Round(s):

Once again Tipico Bundesliga referees and the discipline system within the league, came under the spotlight. In Round 22, four straight red cards were shown (Ortiz, Ehrenreich, Stronati and Ankersen) with Robert Strobl also receiving his marching orders for two yellows against RB Salzburg. In Round 23, only two red cards were issued, one a straight red for Salzburg striker Marcel Sabitzer and the other, two yellows for Benedict Zech versus Rapid Vienna.
However, it was the red card for Martin Ehrenreich that caused the biggest stir. The Sturm Graz right-back was adjudged to have brought down Florian Kainz in only the third minute of the game, however, replays clearly showed that Kainz was not in full control of the ball as Christian Gratzei raced outside of his box, with the contact between players also arguably just a ‘coming together’. The red card ended what was expected to be a closely fought contest with Rapid Vienna going onto waste plenty of chances in their one goal victory.
The game between Wiener Neustadt and Austria Vienna in Round 22, was also compromised due to the ‘triple punishment’ rule, which is applied when a defender illegally stops a clear goal scoring opportunity in the box. Patrizio Stronati, in only his second start for the Violets, softly pushed Dominik Hofbauer as he went through on goal. It was clearly a foul, but outside the box wouldn’t have been anything more than a yellow card. Instead, Stronati was given a straight red card, consequently missing the next match and American, Conor O’Brien was able to score from the spot, in what was the only goal of the game.
It is not the first time decisions like this have been highlighted, with Ried fans still sore from the three penalties and two red cards they received in the first game of the Spring season in Vienna. All we can hope for going forward, is that these type of decisions do not continue to dictate the outcome of the games.

Martin Ehrenreich (left) receives a straight red card following a last man collision with Florian Kainz (front)- Round 22 (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Martin Ehrenreich (left) receives a straight red card following a last man collision with Florian Kainz (front)- Round 22 (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Full results:

Round 22:

SC Rheindorf Altach 1:0 Wolfsberger AC
SK Rapid Wien 1:0 SK Sturm Graz
SV Ried 2:2 FC Admira Wacker
SC Wiener Neustadt 1:0 FK Austria Wien
RB Salzburg 3:1 SV Grödig.

Round 23:

SK Sturm Graz 2:1 FK Austria Wien
SK Rapid Wien 1:0 SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Grödig 1:3 SC Wiener Neustadt
Wolfsberger AC 1:2 SV Ried
FC Admira Wacker 1:4 RB Salzburg.

Final Word:

Four games into the Spring season, the new-signings are (in some cases) starting to have their desired effects. In Round 22, Ried’s new signing Petar Filipović rescued a late draw for his side at home versus Admira with a well-timed header. Whilst, Patrizio Stronati, who had been a hero for Austria Vienna in their 5:2 win over Altach the week prior, turned villain as he gifted Neustadt the lead having conceded a cheap penalty. In Round 23, Takumi Minamino scored his first Bundesliga goals since his arrival from Cerezo Osaka to RB Salzburg. The Japanese youngster scored once in both halves,  also supplying the cross for Valon Berisha to head home in the dying minutes to make the score 4:1 to the Bulls. Elsewhere, Philip Hellquist, who has been an inspirational signing for Neustadt following his move from Djurgården in Sweden, scored his third goal in as many games during their 3:1 away victory over Grödig. The Swede had only scored twice in the entirety of 2014!

 

Philip Hellquist (left) alongside Neustadt manager Helgi Kolvidsson (picture courtesy of Wiener Neustadt)

Philip Hellquist (left) alongside Neustadt manager Helgi Kolvidsson (picture courtesy of Wiener Neustadt)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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